Monthly Archives: February 2017

The sharing Economy in Canada

Many of us have taken an Uber or stayed at a private residence through AirBNB when we travel.  According to Statistics Canada it is estimated that in one year (November 2015 to October 2016) over $1.1 Billion was spent by Canadians domestically ($367 million) and internationally ($698 million) for private accommodations and $241 million on ride sharing. (StatsCAN, 2017,02,28).

In BC the PST (provincial sales tax) on accommodations is 8% and each typical hotel/motel room generates an additional MRDT (municipal and regional district tax) of up to 3% to raise revenues for tourism marketing, projects and programs within the municipality.

It begs the question; what are the long term implications of this trend?  Although this report targets Canadian travelers, how much accommodation revenue is lost to international travelers visiting Canada due to the sharing economy?  What are the overall tax implications to communities? How much revenue is lost?

Full disclosure, I have stayed at an AirBNB’s while traveling and found the experience to be positive and at the time I did it purely to save money while in North Vancouver ($50 a night for a private room Queen bed and shared bathroom compared to  $120 plus $15 parking Queen bedroom).  Truthfully at the time I didn’t really consider the implications of my actions. I hadn’t considered the tax revenues lost to the province or the municipality. I was just looking for a cheap place to stay near the North Shore mountain biking trails.  Through this experience I gave up my typical autonomy and anonymity associated with hotel travel and gained a unanticipated experience meeting travelers from India, USA and UK. I was able to hear through their international eyes, and experiences what they thought of Vancouver, BC and Canada.  So I have seen both sides, but I will likely limit my shared accommodations adventures in the future

What are your thoughts? What are your experiences?